Psalm 119:161-168

Psalm 119:161-168

to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice

August 12, 2019 – Monday

Psalm 119:161-168    NIV

ש Shin/Sin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at Your word.
162 I rejoice in Your promise like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and detest falsehood but I love Your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous laws.
165 Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
166 I wait for Your salvation, Lord, and I follow Your commands.
167 I obey Your statutes, for I love them greatly.
168 I obey Your precepts and Your statutes, for all my ways are known to You.


Shin/Sin make up the twenty-first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the number three hundred. Unlike other Hebrew letters, this Hebrew letter has two definite different spellings – shin and sin

How to tell if the letter is a shin or a sin? First notice the letter has a resemblance to the English letter W and if it is a shin it has a dot over the right most leg and has the sound “sh” as in shy. If it is a sin it has a dot over the left most leg and has the sound “s” as in sun.  Both may be observed here and here looking at the first letter in each verse with three beginning with shin and five beginning with sin. How to print each may be found here and how to write each in cursive may be found here. Here is a song of this stanza with the title Great Peace Have They Who Love Your Law taken from the fifth verse.

Now looking at the eight verses for today notice there is no petition or appeal to God. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges summarizes the verses as follows

God’s law fills the Psalmist’s heart with awe, joy, love, and gratitude; he has been diligent in its observance. It is not the boasting of the Pharisee, but the honest profession of a good conscience.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary is to be preferred, especially his concluding statements (underlined)

Those whose hearts stand in awe of God’s word, will rather endure the wrath of man, than break the law of God. By the word of God we are unspeakable gainers. Every man hates to have a lie told him, but we should more hate telling a lie; by the latter we give an affront to God. The more we see the beauty of truth, the more we shall see the hateful deformity of a lie. We are to praise God even for afflictions; through grace we get good from them. Those that love the world have great vexation, for it does not answer what they expect; those that love God’s word have great peace, for it outdoes what they expect. Those in whom this holy love reigns, will not perplex themselves with needless scruples, or take offence at their brethren. A good hope of salvation will engage the heart in doing the commandments. And our love to the word of God must subdue our lusts, and root out carnal affections: we must make heart work of it, or we make nothing of it. We must keep the commandments of God by obedience to them, and his promises by reliance on them. God’s eye is on us at all times; this should make us very careful to keep his commandments.

But how would you look at this stanza. Perhaps by seeing the first verse (161) as God’s word triumphing over the trials of this world while at the same time rejoicing (162) in God’s promises. Then because of the eternal truth in God’s word (163) we come to love His law while hating the lies of the world. As a result of our love (164) we praise Him many times each day – seven times in this verse. In addition the love of His law (165) results in great peace while preventing one from stumbling.

Then David waits (166) on God’s salvation and obeys (follows) God’s commands. The salvation herein is yeshua (transliteration) which became Yeshua the name of Jesus in Hebrew. Read about the change from Yeshua to Jesus here as it is an interesting story. The final two verses (167, 168) are about obeying God’s laws out of love and from the knowledge nothing can be hidden from God.

Question to begin our week with: Do we do what is right (from God’s point of view!) because of our love and thankfulness for the salvation He provided for us through His Son or because we know we cannot hide any action or thought from Him? Or both? Or do we deceive ourselves believing we can hide our sins from Him? In our heart of hearts, we know we cannot.

RileyD, nwJ
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)